EPA Proposes Tighter Emissions Standards


EPA Proposes Tighter Emissions Standards
An electric car with a charging station located at a city park. © Scharfsinn

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency today proposed new, more stringent federal emissions standards for light-, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for model year 2027 and beyond. Expected impacts include wider use of carbon dioxide-reducing technologies and a more rapid transition to electric vehicles.

On the new light- and medium-proposed standards, “EPA projects that for the industry as a whole, the standards are expected to drive widespread use of filters to reduce gasoline particulate matter and spur greater deployment of CO2-reducing technologies for gasoline powered vehicles,” the agency said in a news release. “The proposed standards are also projected to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.”

The “Multi-Pollutant Emissions Standards for Model years 2027 and Later Light-Duty and Medium Duty Vehicles” builds on the agency’s existing emissions standards for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2023 through 2026. The new proposal aims to leverage advances in clean car technology to further reduce both climate pollution and smog- and soot-forming emissions. The agency claims the light- and medium duty proposal would avoid 7.3 billion tons of CO2 emissions through 2055, equivalent to eliminating all GHG emissions from the U.S. transportation sector for four years.

The proposal considers a broad variety of available emission control technologies, and the agency claimed the standards are designed to allow manufacturers to meet the performance-based standards that work best for their vehicle fleets.

The EPA said it projects that EVs could account for 67% of new light-duty vehicle sales and 46% of new medium-duty vehicle sales in model year 2032. The proposed model year 2032 light-duty standards are projected to bring about a 56% reduction in projected fleet average greenhouse gas emissions target levels compared to the existing model year 2026 standards. The proposed model year 2032 medium-duty vehicle standards would result in a 44% greenhouse gas emissions reduction, compared to model year 2026 standards.

The “Greenhouse Gas Standards for Heavy Duty Vehicles – Phase 3” would apply to heavy-duty vocational vehicles – such as delivery trucks, dump trucks, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle, school buses – and trucks typically used to haul freight. The standards would complement the criteria pollutant standards for model year 2027 and beyond heavy-duty vehicles that EPA finalized in December 2022 and represent the third phase of EPA’s Clean Trucks Plan. The proposal uses performance-based standards that enable manufacturers to achieve compliance based on fleet composition.

In the proposed rule, EPA said it believes the increased application of zero emission technologies in the heavy-duty sector presents an opportunity to strengthen GHG standards, which can result in significant reductions in heavy-duty vehicle emissions.

Among other things, the proposal calls for adding warranty requirements for batteries and other components of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles and to require customer-facing battery state-of-health monitors for plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles.

The proposal is projected to avoid 1.8 billion tons of CO2 through 2055, equivalent to eliminating all greenhouse gas emissions from the entire current U.S. transportation sector for an entire year.

EPI is also proposing an additional set of CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles that would start to apply in model year 2028, with progressively more stringent standards each model year through 2032.

Information on the proposed rules is available at EPA’s website.